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Zebold: USF Picked to Win The American's East Division


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USF Picked to Win The American's East Division

August 02, 2016
By  USF
 

By TOM ZEBOLD

USF Senior Writer

NEWPORT, R.I., AUG. 2, 2016 – USF is expected to be the beast of the East in the American Athletic Conference.

Head coach Willie Taggart’s Bulls were picked to win the East Division in The American’s 2016 preseason media poll that was released during the conference’s media day on Tuesday. USF received 15 first-place votes (164 points overall) and two votes as the favorite for the conference title.

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“Now you have the expectation and a lot of folks ask, ‘Coach, how are you going to handle it?’” Taggart said. “We’re going to embrace it because that’s what we wanted and that’s what those kids wanted. Embrace the expectation, but also understand it’s going to take a lot of hard work to get there.”

If media predictions hold true, the Bulls would take on conference favorite Houston in the American Athletic Conference Football Championship on Saturday, Dec. 3 at the home site of the division champ with the best league record.

“Our guys from Day 1, they want to win a conference championship,” Taggart said. “That’s something that’s never been done at the University of South Florida and it’s something we all take pride in doing.”

This marks the highest USF has ever been ranked in The American’s preseason media poll and it follows the Bulls’ first trip to the postseason since 2010. USF finished last season at 8-5 after winning seven of its final eight regular season games on the way to the Miami Beach Bowl. The Bulls went 6-2 in conference play and were 5-0 against foes from the East Division.

“The vision that we had when we recruited all those kids and what they had is starting to come to life now,” Taggart said. “Every year we have a motto, ‘We’re either getting better or you’re getting worse. No one stays the same.’ Ever since I’ve been there, our football program has been getting better, not only on the field but off the field as well.”

USF Well Represented at Media Days

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USF had a lot to talk about and media members had plenty of big-name Bulls to interview during The American’s Summer Kickoff and Media Days at Hyatt Regency Newport.

Running back Marlon Mack, quarterback Quinton Flowers, receiver Rodney Adams, cornerback Deatrick Nichols and linebacker Auggie Sanchez accompanied Taggart to Rhode Island for the conference’s first formal event of the football season.

The American kicked off its annual gathering Monday and treated its teams to a tasty tradition. The menu for the New England clambake included 506 pounds of lobster, bushels of clams and mussels, 99 pounds of chicken, 93 pounds of beef, 125 pounds of potatoes and 300 ears of corn.

Commissioner Aresco Previews Season

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Tuesday’s media day began with American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco’s annual remarks that included a preview of what’s to come this season.

“The outlook for this year is bright. We have nine returning quarterbacks, eight returning coaches, four exciting, new coaches – a top group of veteran coaches,” Aresco said. “We have big games to test ourselves.  Oklahoma-Houston, Florida State-USF, Temple-Penn State, Tulsa-Ohio State, UCF-Michigan, Navy-Notre Dame, Cincinnati-BYU and Cincinnati-Purdue, Memphis-Ole Miss, Tulane-Wake Forest, ECU against South Carolina, Virginia Tech and NC State, the list goes on.”

Read all of Aresco’s remarks HERE and reserve your seats for USF’s home game against FSU on Sept. 24 at USFBullsTix.com or by calling 1-800-GoBulls.

Join the Bulls at Fall Camp This Week

Fans are welcome to watch the first three days of fall camp that begins Thursday at 10 a.m. on the original practice fields first used by the Bulls starting in 1996. The fields are located on the east end of campus, just north of the Morsani Football Practice Complex.

“We thought it would be a nice nod to the history of our program and how far it has come to begin practice for our 20th season on the fields where the program began,” Taggart said.

Action continues with more two-hour sessions Friday and Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Morsani Football Practice Complex.

Fans are encouraged to park in the Sycamore lot on the east end of campus near 50th Street. Learn more HERE.

“I’m excited to get started here in a couple days,” Taggart said. “This time of year is always great. Before I left (for Rhode Island), I saw they started to paint the fields, so you know it’s that time.”

 

Follow  @USFFootball on twitter for all the latest information concerning the USF Football program.

-       #GoBulls –

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